The Mississippi Department of Transportation has given the city of Natchez $500,000 to help restore a local depot and relocate the Natchez Farmer's Market there.
Mississippi Southern District Transportation Commissioner Tom King told city officials that the agency will give the city another $250,000 in the spring, The Natchez Democrat reported.
The city is partnering with Alcorn State University and Mississippi State University to build a pavilion for the Alcorn State extension program's farmers market and turn the depot into a public product development facility with a demonstration kitchen as well as a visitor center for the Natchez Trails Project.
The MDOT funding will require a 20 percent match.
The university's share of the project is $1.2 million, said Barry Bequette, dean of the School of Agriculture, Research, Extension and Applied Science. He said the university has $500,000 committed and is hoping to get more money rather than scale down plans for the farmers market.
The depot will connect to the Natchez Trails Project, which has added walking trails and sidewalks downtown.
Mayor Butch Brown said the depot restoration will serve as a legacy project for the city's tricentennial in 2016.
"It will last forever and help represent what this city has done in its first 300 years," he said.
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